News / Africa

Talks Underway on Helping Libyan Civilians Leave Sirte

Children and families are seen stranded outside a mosque guarded by revolutionary fighters in Sirte, Libya. After NATO's heavy bombing on Sunday, hundreds of families are leaving the city. Some remain stranded on the outskirts due to lack of transportatio
Children and families are seen stranded outside a mosque guarded by revolutionary fighters in Sirte, Libya. After NATO's heavy bombing on Sunday, hundreds of families are leaving the city. Some remain stranded on the outskirts due to lack of transportatio
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Libya's provisional government fighters and elders from the tribe of former leader Moammar Gadhafi are trying to negotiate a truce that would allow safe passage for families trying to leave the besieged city of Sirte, Mr. Gadhafi's hometown.

A National Transitional Council (NTC) commander, Tohami Abu Zayan, said Tuesday that the two sides are trying to agree on a plan that would allow the remaining families to leave.  He said fighters were also trying to negotiate a cease-fire with pro-Gadhafi forces in the city.

NTC fighters have been tightening their siege on Sirte, one of the few remaining strongholds for Mr. Gadhafi's supporters.

Anti-Gadhafi troops raced through the city's eastern outskirts Monday while NATO jets bombed loyalist positions for the third consecutive day.  

Meanwhile, a Tunisian appeals court has overturned an illegal entry conviction against former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi.

Judicial officials dismissed the charges against the Gadhafi-era minister on Tuesday.

Last week, a Tunisian court sentenced Mr. Mahmudi to six months in prison on the illegal entry charges. Tunisian officials said Tuesday that they had not received an extradition request from Libya.

In New York Monday, Libya's interim prime minister asked the United Nations Security Council to lift remaining sanctions on his country.  Mahmoud Jibril told the council that sanctions are hindering the NTC's ability to provide basic services to citizens.

The Security Council already has unfrozen $16 billion in Libyan assets, and the NTC hopes to gain access to more funds that remain locked.

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Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
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Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
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